Gov. Pete Ricketts has appointed a political newcomer to replace veteran state Sen. Jeremy Nordquist of Omaha.
Nicole Fox will fill the vacancy left when Nordquist resigned to become Chief of Staff for Congressman Brad Ashford.
“One of things that has impressed me about Nicole is that she’s someone who gets into the policy of health care,” Ricketts told reporters during a news conference in his Capitol office.
Fox, a registered dietician and medical nutrition instructor, works with cancer patients on their nutritional needs at Nebraska Medicine.
“I applied for this position, because I have long been interested in public service,” Fox stated during the news conference. “As part of my profession, I have worked with legislative and public policy committees to advocate for health care legislation, also for medical nutrition therapy. I have a strong belief in the need to make sure that we are providing access to health care.”
That background and interest in public policy made Fox an attractive candidate, according to Ricketts.
“One of the things that I will say impressed me about Nicole is that she’s kind of a policy wonk. And I’m kind of a policy wonk. So, I kind of like that,” Ricketts said. “I am very, very confident that she will be able to bring a fresh perspective on how we deal with health care here in the state. She brings a fresh perspective in general to the Unicameral as she has not held elective office before.”
Fox did add that her interests extend beyond health care.
“Another area of interest that I have is to be able to foster the desire for businesses, families, individuals to come to this state, because Nebraska is a great state,” Fox said.
Fox, who is 40, will be sworn in by Secretary of State John Gale in a private ceremony.
Fox replaces Nordquist, a leading Democrat in the official nonpartisan Unicameral. Fox is a Republican and says she plans to run in 2016 to retain the District 7 seat of southeastern Douglas County in Omaha.
AUDIO: Gov. Pete Ricketts introduces Nicole Fox as the new senator from District 7. [4:20]